Covid-19: China’s Qingdao to check 9 million in 5 days

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The coastal city of Qingdao confirmed a small number of cases on Sunday

The Chinese city of Qingdao will test its entire population of nine million people for Covid-19 over a period of five days.

The mass test comes after the discovery of a dozen cases related to a hospital treating coronavirus patients from abroad.

In May, China tested the entire city of Wuhan – home to 11 million people and the epicenter of the global pandemic.

The country has largely got the virus under control.

This is in stark contrast to other parts of the world, where there are still high case numbers and lockdown restrictions of varying degrees of severity.

  • Did China test an entire city in 10 days?
  • How Wuhan went from quiet streets to overcrowded pools

In a statement posted on Chinese social media website Weibo, the Qingdao City Health Commission said six new cases and six asymptomatic cases had been discovered.

All cases were linked to the same hospital, the state-run Global Times said.

Chinese authorities are now pursuing a strategy of mass testing, even if a new coronavirus cluster appears to be relatively small, correspondents say.

How will the testing work?

The National Health Commission said Monday that “the whole city will be tested within five days”.

Around 114,862 people – including medical staff and newly hospitalized patients in the city’s hospitals – had already performed negative tests, the Qingdao Health Commission said.

Videos circulated online showed residents lining up late Sunday to be tested, the Global Times said, adding that some of those test points were open from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.

The new cases come a week after China’s Golden Week holidays, when millions of people have traveled across the country.

  • Millions are moving in China after the lockdown

A Global Times report quoting the Qingdao Municipal Bureau of Culture and Tourism said the coastal city received 4.47 million passenger trips during that period.

The nearby city of Jinan, in the same province as Qingdao, urged anyone who had visited the city since September 23 to get tested, according to a report by The Paper.

Earlier last month, Qingdao announced that two dock workers who handled imported seafood tested positive. They were not known to have infected anyone else.

Daily coronavirus infections have fallen dramatically in China, and the country appears to have largely recovered from the worst.

China currently has 91,305 virus cases and the death toll is 4,746, according to WHO data.

How did you test Wuhan?

China said 11 million people in the city were tested in 10 days earlier this year.

The BBC’s Reality Check estimated the number was closer to 9 million, but still a significant number of people.

Hundreds of test centers have opened with thousands of employees.

They also mobilized teams to test disabled people, the elderly and the vulnerable in their own four walls.

One way to speed up the process was to use batch or pool tests.

A batch of five to ten samples was tested in this procedure. Only when a sample tested positive would the team run individual tests to determine who was positive within the batch.

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